Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Wound Care Cleansing Solution
Agent Effects
Sodium hypochlorite solution High pH causes irritation to skin, Dakins Solution and Eusol (buffered preparation) can select out gram-negative micro-organism
Hydrogen peroxide De-sloughing agent while effervescing.  Can harm healthy granulation tissue and may form air emboli if packed in deep tissue
Mercuric chloride, crystal violet, Proflavine Bacteriostatic agents active against Gram-positive species only.  May be mutagens and can have systemic toxicity
Cetrimide (quarternary ammonium) Good detergent, active against Gram-positive and negative organism, but high toxicity to tissue.
Chlorhexidine Active against gram-positive and negative organisms, with small effect on tissue
Acetic acid (0.5% to 5%) Low pH, effective against Pseudomonas species, may select out S. aureus.
Povidone iodine Broad spectrum of activity, although decreased in the presence of pus or exudate.  Toxic with prolonged use or over large areas.